Drive a stake through it – the supernatural vampire saga “Twilight” is finished. This finale, the franchise’s fifth entry, is Bella’s swan song, and it’ll go down as the best of the bunch – but that’s really not saying much. Director Bill Condon (“Gods and Monsters,” “Dreamgirls”) and screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg (she wrote the last one, too) finally get the joke and have crafted a movie that possesses an iota of entertainment value. Unlike the past four installments “Breaking Dawn: Part 2” has lots of self-deprecating humor and some intentional laughs in its outlandish cheesiness – moving and jumping through forests at bionic speeds, hunting for animal blood and the day-time soap vibe.
But the best part comes in the second act when Condon and Rosenberg spring Something Big. And the legions of so-called Twihards in the audience I saw the film with were bitten and smitten. It’s telling that the cleverest part of the film is something that wasn’t even in Stephenie Meyer’s books. Just sayin’.
Before you get to the head-rolling payoff, you do need to slog through the usual “Twilight” nonsense, and there’s plenty to sink your teeth into. So here goes nothing:
The action picks up right where the previous film left off – Bella is now a vampire and has birthed half-human, half-vampire baby Renesmee (MacKenzie Foy). The baby causes unrest in the world of the undead and the Vatican-like Volturi coven are coming for the Cullen clan’s blood.
In the meantime, werewolf Jacob (Taylor Lautner) has “imprinted” on Bella and Edward’s (Robert Pattinson) fast-growing child to be her lifelong protector and eventual lover. Creepy, but the movie plods on until the big second-half showdown. To say more, would risk the – dare I say – fun.
These events require a hoard of other Cullen-sympathizing vampires to show up, so we’re introduced to some new blood. There’s a couple crazy Russians, some Amazons, Maggie Grace (“Taken”), a gay Mexican, to name a few. At this point, it’s almost not fair to talk about the acting, or lack thereof. It’s all pretty pathetic and no one gets more than a sentence of dialogue at a time. The plus side is that Stewart isn’t as mopey. As a newbie vamp, Ms. Trampire, is stronger than ever. Tackling mountain lions, drinking their blood and punching out Jacob will empower a girl. Now that he’s won Bella’s heart, Pattinson’s Edward doesn’t have much to do but make steamy vampire love to her. Lautner, naturally, strips down to his skivvies in front of Bella’s dad – Billy Burke, who’s always been one of the best actors in the franchise. Michael Sheen is in on the gag, and his Aro, leader of the Volturi, is deliciously over-the-top. He even growls. Dakota Fanning, as Aro’s right-hand vampire, literally has one word to utter, yet she’s more memorable than most.
Page 2 of 2 - Once you strip away all the vampy accoutrements, the heart of the matter has always been about the quest for eternal love. And, the end credits do a fangs for the memories montage that showcases the past actors from the franchise – like Anna Kendrick and Bryce Dallas Howard. Some fans were crying. Most cheering.
But it all begins and ends with Pattinson, Stewart and Lautner – who’ve bit the box office jackpot with these movies.
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2
(PG-13 for sequences of violence including disturbing images, some sensuality and partial nudity.) Cast includes Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner. 2 stars out of 4.
Dana Barbuto may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.